New to electornics

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SuperMiguel
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New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:05 pm

Hello guys, im on a electric engineer major, but still taking physics and calc classes, and i want to start learning about electronics and start building :) but im not sure where to start.. not sure if i should get something liek this: http://store.nutsvolts.com/product.php? ... 412&page=1 or get a book... soo let me know whats the best route for me to go :)thanks

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CeaSaR
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Re: New to electornics

Post by CeaSaR » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:49 pm

SuperMiguel,

Welcome to the board!

That all depends on what type of person you are. If you would rather get the theory before
diving into hands on, then a book is the best way to go. If you are fearless and want to dive
right in, then the kit / learning lab is the way to go. Personally, I like to see the results along
with the theory, so for me it would be the kit. You can always pick up more books and/or
components along the way and build on your experience.

The most important thing for you, as a "student", is to read and re-read the book/manual, then
trace your physical work (circuit) to make sure you understand it. Of course, if you don't quite
understand something, ask someone or research further. This goes for anything you wish to learn.
Remember, the only dumb question is the one you don't ask.

Again, welcome to the board.

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

SuperMiguel
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Re: New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:48 pm

and i guess to start learning how to solder i can get something like this: http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails ... Code=MKEL4

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haklesup
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Re: New to electornics

Post by haklesup » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:51 pm

Not all EEs end up working with microelectronics but based on your presence here and your question, you may ultimately be one. Out of the EEs I kept in contact with from college, one became a software engineer, one works in an electric utility and a third ended up in a civil engineering job. I'm the only one who ended up in Microelectronics and even then I only have 25% exposure to electronic assy and design.

I know plenty of EEs who never planned on soldering but if that's your calling, there's no time like the present to get some hands on learning. The kit you linked looks like it might be fun for a while but it lacks the hands on assembly aspects many of us love about the hobby. It seeks to make concrete some of the easier concepts you will eventually learn. Frankly, I think you will get further with a uController development kit (others here have experience with these they love to share)

When I went to college, simulators were in their infancy and generally took a corporate mainframe to run. Now you can get a student version of MultiSim with lots of educational tutorial packs available. In fact, I bet one of your classes will require you to get this someday. This lets you try lots of circuit concepts without buying or assembling parts or owning any test equipment. For the cost of a scope, you get a whole bench (virtually)

As Caesar suggested, it depends on what you see yourself doing when you graduate (what you end up actually doing depends on the economy and what jobs are available at that time). Many engineers don't do any assembly or construction, that's what technicians are for (just like most doctors don't give injections, that's what nurses are for). If you want to become proficient in electronic construction, you'll have to take that task into your own hands. No need to wait for the first electronics course.

Kits like you linked are great if you don't have any experience and don't know where to start. You are essentially assured of building a working project the first time. Eventually you will want to design your own projects.

SuperMiguel
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Re: New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:19 pm

so i guess i should buy the one i posted originally to get a feeling on electronics and then move to something like this: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_ ... ucts_id=68 so i can get a feeling on programing and then just start my own projects

SuperMiguel
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Re: New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:20 pm

btw i cant find that uController development kit you mentioned :S

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haklesup
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Re: New to electornics

Post by haklesup » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:07 pm

I didn't mention any specific microcontroller because there are dozens in the low cost range. Search a few common sense terms like microcontroller, development kit on the web and check Digikey to see some. I'm not an expert and hope someone else will chime in with a recommendation or two.

With this class of device you need one hand on the soldering iron and the other hand on a keyboard. Though a skill I find myself lacking, I recognise that the best designers also write software/firmware for their projects as well. Its not like you would be forsaking analog since many complete circuits have an analog front end and a digital brain and user interface.

Now if you said you were intensely interested in radio waves or precise measurements or how IC were manufactured etc then I might point in another direction but the more I think of it, In todays world, heavily digital designs with software at the core is the trend in almost all commercial products.

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Re: New to electornics

Post by gerty » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:22 am

The developement board we use here at the school is a EASYPIC5 from
http://www.mikroe.com/en/tools/
It has a button for every input and a led for every output, it also has a 4 digit 7 segment and sockets for an optional lcd and glcd screens. It has ic sockets for several different controllers up to 40 pin. They also have support forums, we think it's a good deal all around.


edit: forgot to mention the software is free and available in MIKRO-C, MIKRO BASIC,
AND PASCAL.

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MrAl
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Re: New to electornics

Post by MrAl » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:16 am

Hello SuperMiguel,


I'd like to say hi too and welcome you to this board also. There are a lot of people here who like to
help others with their electronic (and other types too sometimes) projects and i for one have helped
hundreds of people over the years with their electronic projects and related, mostly over emails and
on web forums like this one, but many in a real life person to person setting too in various towns.
The subject material ranges from simple analog stuff to micro controllers and even discreet logic.
From help with new design and modifications to help finding a part to fit a specific new application
to replacement parts for old apps and stuff like that.

Enjoy :smile:
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

SuperMiguel
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Re: New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:23 am

is there anything i will learn from this kit: http://store.nutsvolts.com/product.php? ... 412&page=1 that i wont learn from this one: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_ ... ucts_id=68 ???

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haklesup
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Re: New to electornics

Post by haklesup » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:52 am

Like asking if I'll learn more from a dog or a cat. The first link looks like a basic circuit trainer with mostly analog and simple combinatorial digital circuits. A good introduction to basic electronics. The second is a microcontroller development kit with a handful of components to create input and output circuits. Without studying the table of contents of each kits manual I would guess there is only a little overlap between the two. Either would be a good place to start but I think that the second one is more in line with my previous advice.

Furthermore if you click on the picture of the box, you can see the contents a tiny bit better. The first one appears to use breadboard construction and the second one used PC board construction. Again, both useful methods for prototyping. Once you go through the 130 projects you're done with the first but with the second, I think your imagination will be able to carry you further than the projects in the kit. In the first kit you will be left with a breadboard which is a useful tool, the second one at least has its own power supply.

Here is another very low cost uController kit thats caught my eye a number of times

http://focus.ti.com/docs/toolsw/folders ... f2013.html

Cherck out the Chronos dev kit, pretty neat.
http://focus.ti.com/mcu/docs/mcuprodove ... milyId=342

Like most they also have a well developed online community for ideas and help

FOB
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Re: New to electornics

Post by FOB » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:20 am

Go to Forrest Mimms website and invest in his "Getting started in Electronics" or his "Engineers Notebook" He has been writing books in a no-nonsense easy to understand way for at least 30 years. There are projects and building blocks ..... not just soldering projects. Most of the stuff his books call for is available at Radio Shack or somebody on this forum has it. You will learn real fast whether you are a "Builder" or a "Programmer".
There are lots of books out there. Maybe even a few as good, but you will NOT find anything better than what Mr. Mimms has written. (IMHO).
Fat-Old-Bob

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Sambuchi
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Re: New to electornics

Post by Sambuchi » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:30 pm

Hello Miguel and welcome.

I have to agree with haklesup first post. I am a EE but my professors told me you want to become an embedded engineer. "be familiar with both hardware and software" don't waste too much time hand soldering components to breadboards... you will later find there are cheap board houses out there to turn. Use them to crank out some fun embedded designs.

If you want to get started now building something with a processor/sensors/and things that go beep... check this out.
http://mindstorms.lego.com/en-us/Default.aspx

When you want to start building your custom designs you should look here
http://www.sparkfun.com/

Then it wont be long that these sites will be bookmarked.
http://www.ti.com/
http://www.microchip.com/
http://www.analog.com/
http://www.linear.com/
http://www.usa.philips.com/

http://www.digikey.com/
http://mouser.com/

And dont forget to one very important thing.... ASK QUESTIONS!

Good luck

Tony

SuperMiguel
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Re: New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:14 am

this seems http://mindstorms.lego.com/en-us/Default.aspx a bit for kids .. right?

SuperMiguel
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Re: New to electornics

Post by SuperMiguel » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:20 am

i finally ordered http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_ ... ucts_id=68 and ill get it tomorrow, im going to follow this guide: http://www.ladyada.net/learn/arduino/ and then from there ill start thinking about building my own things and YES I WILL ASK QUESTIONS!!

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